Living Free – Doing Life Differently

Feb 19

Living Free – Doing Life Differently

praiseIt’s been a while since I’ve done a more “spiritual” post here. Mostly I’ve been focusing on the training. However, I never walk without listening to something, and lately I’ve been deeply challenged by some teaching that I’ve been working through on my walks.

I was born into the church. I could probably count on one hand how many Sunday morning (now Saturday night) services I’ve missed in my almost half a decade. Add to that all the Sunday evening services back when they were part of the “routine” and untold hours of volunteering as a Sunday School teacher for all ages, a youth leader, a musician, etc., I’ve spent probably half my life in some kind of religious setting. I’ve participated in everything from very high latin catholic masses to “no rules” Charismatic frenzies; I’ve been to church in dozens of countries, in several languages, and I’ve even been a missionary. I love the church. I love the lifestyle, the people, the teaching, the music. I love being a part of something that matters.

The truth is, however, that while I take my faith very seriously, and while I’ve striven most of my life to serve God faithfully, some nagging feeling in my gut is telling me that somehow, I’ve “missed the point”. For such a long time I’ve felt “stuck”. Way back in my missionary days half a lifetime ago I met a God who was actively involved in my every day. Everything I was asked to do was so far beyond my capabilities, it was literally “trust God or screw up beyond redemption”. I had no idea how to do that, but I learned quickly – on the job. And God showed up, BIG. I began a relationship with Him that had vibrance, joy, passion, delight, and lots of surprises.

Now, living in a safe city, with a wonderful husband who provides well, two kids with no issues whatsoever, and pretty much able to have/be/do anything my little heart desires, I feel so far from God and who He revealed Himself to be all those years ago. I’m in such a “safe place” that my need for God seems minimal.

And yet, I’m so hungry for Him.

A couple of months ago, in an attempt to help my husband who’s having much the same struggle, I bought the book “So You Don’t Want to Go to Church Anymore” by Wayne Jacobsen and Dave Coleman. A fictional book that really challenged the way I saw church and what it meant.

You see, most of my Christian upbringing has been about duty and behaviour: how often I attend church, how much I read the Bible, how well I memorize scripture, how many people I win to the Lord, how many hours I spend in volunteer ministry, etc. It has little, if anything, to do with relationship – either with my fellow man or with God Himself. And yet, isn’t the Bible just one long story of God’s heart longing for relationship with His people?

Somewhere we’ve allowed this to degenerate into a guilt fest – we are constantly checking to see how well we measure up. How much more we can add to our list of accomplishments. How squeaky clean we can make ourselves.

Through my walking and listening, I’m learning about a whole new way of living out my faith. Jacobsen’s book led me to his website which in turn has led me to some more teaching about transitioning out of the guilt of the religious mindset.  In other words, how to be a Christian without being religious.

I’m deeply challenged by what I’m hearing.  I’m seeking God’s heart to learn how to move forward here – or not.

Wherever this takes me, it’s bound to be an interesting journey!  🙂

I’ll keep you posted.

Happy Walking

Darlene

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